- LeBron James has yet to play a game with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he and the front office may already have their sights set on disassembling the Golden State Warriors through the stacked 2019 free agency class.
- Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson could both ask for max contracts heading into the 2019 season, which may prove too much to handle for Golden State's already loaded payroll.
- Luring Durant or Thompson to Hollywood in the summer of 2019 could finally provide James with the means to take down the Warriors after losing to them in the last two NBA Finals.
LeBron James has spent the last few years of his career searching for a way to overcome the Golden State Warriors' juggernaut, and the 2019 free agency may finally provide James with an opportunity to do so.
With the Warriors' roster brimming with All-Stars, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson may be looking outside of the Bay area as they both hit free agency next summer. If both players demand max contracts, it could prove too much for Golden State's already-hefty payroll, and they could look for pay raises elsewhere.
There has been speculation that Durant may look outside of the Bay Area come 2019. NBA journalist Brandon Robinson reported that Durant could be eyeing the Staples Center as his new home.
Spoke to a source today who confirmed Kevin Durant will be a LA Laker next year.
“Just like LeBron planned his move LA a year or more earlier, #KD is doing the same right now. They want to form the best duo in the NBA and set up KD to be the face of the Lakers post-#LeBron.” pic.twitter.com/BWR9TOWPMZ
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was not convinced that Durant would see much upside to teaming up with James, claiming that "Kevin Durant is [already] part of the best duo in the NBA right now."
Thompson likely has an opportunity to secure a max deal — or somewhere close to it — if he hits the market in 2019. That would force the cash-strapped Warriors to match or come close to offers that could spike up to as much as $139 million over four years. The Los Angeles Lakers will almost certainly have the means to lure Thompson to Hollywood. That, combined with the opportunity to play with James, was enough to convince former Lakers forward Mychal Thompson that it is the right move for his son.
"If Klay came to L.A., which he should, then he knows he is going to slot in behind LeBron," Mychal Thompson said on the Mason and Ireland radio show. "The perception of how people are going to look at you is important for these [other] guys, [but] it is fine because [Klay] has done it before, it is not a big deal."
Hall of Famer Paul Pierce agreed:
"He definitely should be [the Lakers'] top target, he’s the perfect compliment to LeBron,” Pierce said on The Jump. "I don’t think he will get maxed out in Golden State [and] Klay fits with LeBron moreso than anybody."
Although Thompson indicated to Mark Medina of The Mercury News that he would "like to be a Warrior for life," he also mentioned that he fully intended to go into free agency during the summer of 2019:
"At the end of the day, I'm going to be a free agent in 2019," Thompson said. "Number one on my list would obviously be to stay with the Warriors."
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